I am not your best advocate

I was recently being interviewed by a potential client in a messy child custody case. She said to me, “I need somebody that will help me fight for my babies like they were their own.”

My response to her was, “I am not your best advocate.”

Her jaw dropped a little as she looked at me. She was trying not to look surprised. She paused a minute and simply asked, “…what?”

I want to be completely honest with you right from the start.
Yes, I am a lawyer.
Yes, I want your business.
And yes, I want to win your case.

As a lawyer, there is a lot I can do for you.
I can help you understand the process that you are in.
I can work with you to develop a strategy and stay focused on your goals.
I can take care of drafting documents, making phone calls, tracking deadlines, and talking to the judge.
I can even help you find resources in the community for other needs that are impacting your case in court.
I can negotiate complicated settlements, draft lengthy agreements, and sometimes I can get things pushed through court a little faster than you could on your own.
At the end of your case, I can sign the dotted line reserved for your attorney and I can send you a congratulatory email.

And if you are one of my clients, then I promise you that I will do everything in my power to help you get a favorable result. That’s my job.

There are some things, however, that I cannot do, no matter how hard I try.
I cannot understand your needs 100%, no matter how much you tell me about your life.
I cannot anticipate what your future will be like, no matter how well I get to know your history.
I cannot decide what risks you take.
I cannot decide what you sacrifice for the sake of compromise.
And, most importantly, I cannot decide how you will live your life once your case is closed.

The only person who can do all those things is you, and because of that, you are your own best advocate.

You are the only one who truly knows what you need to remediate any past injustice.

You are the one who knows what you truly need to move forward into the life you deserve.

Only you can make big decisions about how your case will proceed, especially if you decide to settle.

To the woman sitting across my desk with a look of confusion on her face, I said, “You are the only one who knows how to fight for your babies, and when that fight takes you to court, I will be there to help you.”

So before hiring a lawyer, ask yourself this: What do you need to be your own best advocate?
Do you need a lawyer who will do all the administrative work for you?
Do you need to sit down with an experienced attorney and just pick their brain for a while?
Do you need someone to help you confidently and competently represent yourself in court?

There are no wrong answers here.

When looking for a lawyer, do not shop based on price, wardrobe, or prestige. Know what you need, then find a lawyer who will help you do just that.

Look for a lawyer who will help you be your own best advocate, whatever that may entail.


At The Lien Law Firm, we help clients represent themselves in family court, where they can truly be the best advocates for their families. You can call our office at 314-722-8557 to learn more about our Legal Coaching Program. If a case has already been filed and you need legal help now, you can schedule a one-time “Need Help Now” coaching session on our website to get in and get the legal help you need.